Technology has revolutionized the way we live, and parenting is no exception. Millennials (born between 1981-1996) are the largest group of parents in South Africa (26% according to Statistics South Africa), and they are embracing innovative tools and apps.
As digital natives, millennials have been immersed in technology since their early years. Whether it’s smartphones, laptops, or desktop computers, technology is a natural part of their lives. According to a 2021 report by We Are Social and Hootsuite, South Africa has a high rate of internet penetration, with 38.2 million active internet users, which is equivalent to 64% of the population. From pregnancy apps to smart baby monitors, South African millennials are embracing technology to make their lives easier through easy access to information and tools that can help them navigate the challenges of raising children.
Baby monitors no longer deliver scratchy audio or grainy images. Today’s smart baby monitors give parents peace of mind, allowing them to check in on their little ones from anywhere. These monitors allow parents to keep an eye on their baby from wherever they may be, using their smartphone or tablet. Some models even come equipped with features like night vision, two-way audio, and motion sensors, giving parents added peace of mind.
Technological advances have resulted in a changing pad that doubles as a scale for parents to track their baby’s weight. Smart bottle warmers allow parents to warm a bottle to the optimal temperature – not too cold, not too hot – via an app. Smart pacifiers, baby activity trackers, and sleep aids are other examples of how technology is being incorporated into baby products to help parents monitor and care for their babies.
And it’s not just about parenting. We’ve seen how technology has transformed the way South African millennials plan and host baby showers, compile baby registries, and shop for gifts as well as school requirements online. With e-commerce on the rise, it’s easier than ever for parents to find what they need for their growing families.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend of virtual communication, with millennials leveraging platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Teams to stay connected with teachers and support systems while using the same to manage their new hybrid working models. Remote learning and virtual parent-teacher conferences have become the norm, making it easier for parents to stay involved in their children’s lives. With older South Africans also embracing mobile devices and smart technology, it’s never been easier for millennials to stay connected with their families and loved ones, no matter where they are in the world.
While some may view the use of technology in parenting as excessive, for many South African millennials, it’s a crucial tool that simplifies their lives and enhances their parenting journey. Ipsos’ survey in 2020 found that 86% of South African millennials believe that technology has made parenting easier, with 52% using technology to monitor their children’s online activities and 47% using technology to monitor their children’s location. And with technology continuing to advance, we can expect to see even more innovations that make parenting more accessible and rewarding than ever before.
By Ronald Govender Dis-Chem Baby City FMCG Executive